orthent (orthent) wrote in linguaphiles,

Help with pronouncing Toic (or Toich)?

Toic (or toich) is a word used in South Sudan to describe a kind of seasonally-flooded grassland associated with the Sudd marshes. Can anyone here tell me how to pronounce it?

Thanks in advance!
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  • 10 comments

yiskah

May 1 2014, 17:32:37 UTC 5 months ago

AT LAST A QUESTION THAT USES MY 'EXPERTISE'. :D

I suspect it differs a little depending on which language is being used, but in the areas where I've worked (Greater Bahr el-Ghazal, particularly Warrap - Dinka Twic or Rek) it's pronounced 'toch' - hard 'ch', short 'o' as in 'loss' or 'off'.

orthent

May 1 2014, 18:06:47 UTC 5 months ago

So it rhymes with "loch"?

Thank you, thank you, awesome linguist person!! (Also, now I'm curious about work that took you to the Sudd!)

yiskah

May 1 2014, 19:13:44 UTC 5 months ago

Ha, not the way I pronounce 'loch' (with Germanic-style 'ch') ;-) To me it would rhyme with 'botch'.

I confess I am not a linguist at all (just very interested in this area) - I've just worked fairly extensively in various parts of South Sudan, and indeed am there right now. Greetings from Juba!

yiskah

May 1 2014, 19:14:41 UTC 5 months ago

(I'm also really curious in why you're seeking Dinka pronunciation advice...)

orthent

May 1 2014, 19:22:40 UTC 5 months ago

I was assigned an oral presentation on the Sudd for wetland ecology class, and I don't want to mangle pronunciations too badly. It will be just a general presentation on the hydrology and vegetation, with some discussion of how the Dinka and other local people use the land for grazing, and the possible consequences if the Jonglei Canal is completed. (Though I can't get too deeply into anything because I only get fifteen minutes.)

muckefuck

May 1 2014, 17:33:25 UTC 5 months ago Edited:  May 1 2014, 17:34:06 UTC

The only pronunciation given by the OED (which spells the word toich) is /tɔɪx/. Roughly, that's the English word toy followed by the "hard ch" of German. The word is Dinka, and I don't know enough about the phonology of that language to say how faithful to the original pronunciation this is.

orthent

May 1 2014, 18:09:12 UTC 5 months ago

Thank you--this seems to confirm yiskah's answer!

muckefuck

May 1 2014, 18:37:02 UTC 5 months ago

Except he seems to be saying that the i is silent. I wonder if that's a question of regional variation or if there's something else at play here.

yiskah

May 1 2014, 19:11:21 UTC 5 months ago

Dinka pronunciation does vary significantly between the various Dinka groups. I've always heard it pronounced as described above but I'm only really familiar with the western Dinka variations - it's entirely conceivable that Dinka Bor, Dinka Ngok, Dinka Malual etc. would pronounce it slightly differently - and of course OED pronunciation is likely to simply reflect whichever Dinka variation Westerners came into contact with first.

(I am a she, by the way!)

orthent

May 1 2014, 19:25:31 UTC 5 months ago

Yikes, you're right....Ooooops!